Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gun Massacre; Man Kills Estranged Wife and Young Daughter in Front of Children

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gun Massacre; Man Kills Estranged Wife and Young Daughter in Front of Children

Article excerpt

Byline: WAYNE VEYSEY

A MAN shot dead his estranged wife and young daughter in front of a group of her terrified friends.

The man, believed to be a gamekeeper, shot and killed the woman in a car outside her home before firing at his daughter who was standing nearby. He then turned the gun on himself.

The killings yesterday evening have left residents of the quiet Somerset village of Horton, near Ilminster, horrified. The village, 10 miles from Taunton at the foot of the Black Down Hills, has a population of 600 people, a single shop inside the post office, a church and a pub which is closed for refurbishment.

The victims have been named locally as Karen Atkins, in her late twenties, and daughter Victoria, believed to be aged about six.

These details have not yet been confirmed by police.

A neighbour said today that three other young children and their mother were in the silver Mondeo with Mrs Atkins and were about to go swimming together when the gunman arrived. He had parked his car at the entrance to a cul-de-sac to block the Mondeo's path.

The second family watched in horror as the man then blew out the windscreen of the dead woman's car with a rifle before shooting Victoria. He then shot himself dead in a nearby back garden.

The witness, who did not wish to be named, described the bloodbath today. He said: "My wife and I heard the first gunshot, we came out of our house and could see the little girl lying on the road. We couldn't get to her because we didn't know where he was. We knew he was there and we knew he had a rifle with a telescopic sight."

The witness said a friend of the woman had been in the driver's seat of the car and her three young children in the back as the shooting happened: "It's absolutely heartbreaking what has happened, but it's even worse to think that the three children watched it all. …

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